A part of the curriculum in elementary grades is teaching students how to decode and spell words. An essential part of this process is learning to divide words into syllables or chunks using phonetic strategies.
The CVVC syllable pattern is an effective method to teach elementary-grade students how to decode and spell words. By understanding and applying these phonetic vowels and consonant patterns, students can progress and improve their grasp of English in written and spoken form.
CVVC syllable patterns form part of the English Standards of Learning in the nationwide Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by most states. It allows for the standardization of education and progress across the United States.
The CVVC Syllable Pattern Is Used To Teach Syllable Division
As students progress through the elementary grades, they will start to learn multisyllabic words.
When students learn how to split and stress multisyllabic words effectively, it will improve their fluency, accuracy, comprehension, decoding, and word encoding. But how do you teach young students how to divide syllables?
The CVVC syllable pattern is a broad and simple set of rules for multisyllabic word division. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, but they are ideal for teaching young students the basics of word division.
What To Know Before Teaching The CVVC Syllable Pattern
Before you can launch into teaching the CVVC syllable pattern, a few foundations should be in place. Your students will need to know the following:
- The difference between a consonant and a vowel,
- The difference between long and short vowel sounds,
- There always needs to be a vowel sound in a syllable, and
- The difference between open and closed syllables.
The Difference Between Vowels And Consonants
In elementary school, students will have learned the 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and the 21 consonants. So, in CVVC lingo, C = Consonant, and V = Vowel.
The Difference Between Long And Short Vowel SoundsVowels can sound different depending on the letter combinations around them. They can either have a short vowel sound or a long vowel sound.
Below is a table showing examples of the short and long vowel sounds.
Short Vowel Sound
Long Vowel Sound
There Always Needs To Be A Vowel Sound In A Syllable
An essential concept in the CVVC syllable pattern is that each syllable must have a vowel sound. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight the value of the letter 'y' in this instance, as it can make a vowel sound in the absence of a vowel.
The Difference Between Open And Closed Syllables
- An open syllable will end with a long-sounding vowel, e.g., mēǀter and tāǀming.
- A closed syllable will include a short-sounding vowel followed by a consonant. E.g., pŏnǀtoon and mătǀter.
The CVVC Pattern Rules For Syllable Division
When students know more about vowels and their vowel sounds, you can teach them the CVVC pattern rules for syllable division.
When the students decode a new word, they should first identify the vowels in the word. They can do so by placing a colored dot underneath the vowels in a multisyllabic word.
Below is a table summarizing the eight rules for syllable division.
Divide between two middle consonants.
Split the word after the consonant when the first vowel has a short sound.
Split the word before the consonant when the first vowel has a long sound.
Divide before the consonant + LE
If two vowels are separated by three consonants, divide after the first consonant in most cases.
If there are four consonants between two vowels, divide after the first consonant in most cases.
Divide compound words between the two simple words.
Prefix | Base Word | Suffix
Divide syllables after a prefix and before a suffix.
In conjunction with the division rules of decoding, it is essential to teach students to keep the following groups of letters together, i.e., not split them. These groups of letters are called syllable types.
e.g., mother = moth|er
e.g., secret = se|cret
e.g., treacle = trea|cle
e.g., combine = com|bine
e.g., farmer = far|mer
e.g., tangy = tang|y
If you are looking for a resource that can help your teaching on CV/VC syllable patterns, check our complete lesson on this topic. This lesson is designed mainly to assist primary grade teachers, but it can be used for other grade levels with slight modifications.
Students should be able to
Students Will be able to
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We hope that this Teaching resource is helpful for you and your students. You can check our complete range of Primary Grades teaching resources here.